Five observations from the Hawks’ 109-93 exhibition victory at the Cavaliers.
1. Offense awakens
The Hawks scored just 81 points in 116 possessions against the Heat, including 72 points in 99 half court possessions according to Synergy Sports. They weren’t much better early against the Cavaliers, who held the Hawks to 20 points in the first quarter.
Then the Hawks found some offensive rhythm while scoring 27 points in the second quarter and 28 in the third with flowing ball movement and good shooting. The runs happened with some mishmash lineups—at one point Dennis Schroder and Kent Bazemore shared the floor with Josh Magette, Luke Babbitt and Dewayne Dedmon. Quinn Cook did a nice job facilitating ball movement in the second quarter.
2. Guards in groove
Bazemore and Schroder showed how they can make the offense go, with the other three players on the floor working in the space those two create. They combined for 25 points on 21 shots in 45 minutes. Schroder had four assists against one turnover and now has nine assists and one turnover in 47 minutes of exhibition play.
Bazemore sparked the Hawks in the second quarter with aggressive drives to the baskets. He looked really explosive on some of those plays, which is a good sign for his health. Schroder got it going in the third quarter with his usual effortless drives to the basket but also with some made jump shots.
3. Rusty rotations
LeBron James (ankle) and Isaiah Thomas (hip) were on the shelf (and Cavs starters played just 15 minutes) but Cleveland has a deep collection of talented offensive players The Cavs move the ball well and have a lot of good shooters who usually are in the right place to receive those passes and launch open shots. They put a lot of pressure on opponents.
However, the Hawks didn’t help matters with some poor rotations to three-point shooters early in the game with Kevin Love and Jae Crowder shaking free for several clean looks. Hawks reserves were scrappier defensively in the second quarter and the starters kept it going in the third.
4. Shy shooter
During training camp Malcolm Delaney said he planned to attack the basket more often to draw fouls. He thinks that will help him find his rhythm with his jump shot, which abandoned him in his first NBA season after he was a good shooter in Europe.
But Delaney seemed off against the Cavs while passing up several good looks on the perimeter. On a couple of occasions Delaney used a nice pump fakes to find space but then didn’t look to the basket and instead fired passes to teammates who didn’t seem to expect the ball.
5. Dedmon digs dives
Like he did against the Heat, Dedmon had another fast start offensively while aggressively diving to the basket.
Dedmon also made a 3-pointer (he missed one attempt against the Heat) and missed a long 2. I’m not sure if this means Dedmon intends to expand his range or if it’s a function of the Hawks not having their offensive sets installed and Dedmon just shooting it when left wide open.
Dedmon did have a couple of defensive lapses early. He allowed Derrick Rose a straight line to the basket on a couple of screen-rolls (though a silver lining is that Dedmon resisted the urge to foul Rose after the guard was already past him). Dedmon also couldn’t stick with Love on the perimeter at times and, well, that’s going to happen.
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